SACRAMENTO, Calif. – On Monday, May 16, Associated General Contractors of California (AGC of California), along with Flatiron Construction, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Southern California District Council of Laborers of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!), and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) held a Mental Health Awareness Stand Down and call on the construction industry as a whole to recognize the importance of mental health for worker’s safety and well-being.
“These unprecedented times have increased awareness of the importance of mental health at home – and now AGC of California and the construction industry can play a vital role in elevating the conversation about the importance of mental health at work,” said Peter Tateishi, Chief Executive Officer, AGC of California. “We want every person on every job site to feel supported both physically and emotionally. Safety and mental health go hand in hand – and we stand down today to acknowledge that there is help for those who are suffering.”
The stand down, which will take place at Flatiron’s I-5 Oso Parkway Project, recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Flatiron will halt construction for one hour as workers learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and mental health disorders, including suicidal ideation, from which construction workers are disproportionally inclined to suffer.
“We need to foster a work environment where we are able to recognize when colleagues are struggling with anxiety, stress, depression or other mental health issues. We need confidence, compassion and strength to respond appropriately and promptly,” said Dale Nelson, Senior Vice President, Flatiron. “Let’s use this opportunity to remind ourselves to bring ‘our best selves’ to work each day and encourage colleagues to do the same.”
AGC of California developed a complete toolkit and tutorial, available online, for construction employers to educate all employees about the importance of mental health. The free toolkit includes talking points to encourage any employee to reach out for help if they are suffering issues related to substance abuse, suicidal ideation, depression, and other mental health concerns. It is also designed to help employers identify and convey support resources (such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255) and company-specific plans, such as employee assistance programs.
“The Orange County Transportation Authority could not be successful without the tremendous dedication of the men and women who lace up their boots and do the hard work every day to enhance our streets, freeways and our entire transportation network, which keeps our residents, workers and visitors moving safely,” said Darrell E. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, OCTA. “The well-being of construction workers is of critical importance, and I encourage them to focus on their health – mental and physical – and take advantage of every resource available. To those workers: We support you and want to see you remain healthy and strong.”
AGC of California hopes the stand down will inspire other construction companies to initiate their own Mental Health Awareness Stand Downs. AGC of California’s toolkit includes suggestions on how companies can host their own successful stand downs to support employees suffering from distress.
“The next step is to bridge the gap from increasing awareness of the issue and starting conversations to developing interventions, programs and resources that help those affected,” said Peter Santillan, Secretary-Treasurer, Southern California District Council of Laborers of LiUNA. “It only makes sense that LiUNA and its signatory contractors build on these opportunities to promote worker mental health and well-being throughout the construction industry. It’s encouraging to see such a positive cultural shift in how mental health is finally being addressed in the industry.”
Mental Health Awareness Standdown
May 16, 2022, at 10 a.m.
Flatiron Construction’s I-5 Oso Parkway Project
I-5 & La Paz Road
Mission Viejo, California
PPE Required Onsite
Parking is available at Floor & Décor, 25872 Muirlands Blvd., Mission Viejo, CA 92691
For more information, please visit www.agc-ca.org/sites/mental-health-initiative/.
About the I-5 Oso Parkway Project
For the Oso Parkway project, Flatiron Construction is widening a nearly three-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in Southern California’s densely populated Orange County. The addition of additional general-purpose lanes will help meet growing travel demands in the region. Flatiron crews also are constructing seven bridges and 22 retaining walls—plus providing significant improvements to drainage and electrical infrastructure.
About the Associated General Contractors of California
Since 1920, the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC of California) has worked alongside members to provide advocacy, education, career development, and networking opportunities to experienced and next generation construction and contracting professionals. AGC advocates for contractors with state and local governments, while helping members connect with industry leaders through services, innovative programs, and events. Learn more at www.agc-ca.org.
About Flatiron Construction
Flatiron is the trusted partner to deliver innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges across U.S. and Canada. For public and private clients, Flatiron builds highways and bridges; aviation, rail and transit infrastructure; dams and water facilities; and underground projects. For more on how Flatiron is transforming infrastructure, visit www.flatironcorp.com. Flatiron is a subsidiary of HOCHTIEF, an engineering-led global infrastructure group.
The Orange County Transportation Authority is the county transportation planning commission, responsible for funding and implementing transit and capital projects for a balanced and sustainable transportation system that reflects the diverse travel needs of the county’s 34 cities and 3.2 million residents. With the mission of keeping Orange County moving, this includes freeways and express lanes, bus and rail transit, rideshare, commuter rail and active transportation.
About Southern California District Council of Laborers and LiUNA!
Southern California District Council of Laborers is a chartered district council of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). The District Council has 12 affiliated locals. The objectives of the District Council are to unite the local unions within its jurisdiction in order to advance the economic and other interests of the membership and seek continued improvements in the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreements.
LiUNA members are on the forefront of the construction industry a sector that is a powerhouse of 12 million workers producing 5% of our country’s economic output. LiUNA is also one of the most diverse and effective unions representing public service employees. A half-million strong, LiUNA members are united through collective bargaining agreements which help earn family-supporting pay, good benefits and the opportunity for advancement and better lives.